Students build dreams through welding class

Students build dreams through welding class

Magnolia Bates is building her dream for a better future with a welder’s torch. She is one of about 15 students earning a certificate in welding through a partnership between Community Renewal’s Adult Renewal Academy and Northwest Louisiana Technical College. Red Ball Oxygen has donated welding rods and equipment. “Some people told me that welding was for a man, not a woman, but I like challenges. I like using the torch and building things,” she said. Magnolia, a mother of three, is an ARA student who is close to graduating. “I want to start my own soul food business – I’ve already had training in culinary arts – and then I can use my welding skills to work on my own building.” One of the best rewards of this new Community Renewal outreach: Students not only learn a marketable job skill; they also learn self-confidence. “This is building me up and building my self-esteem. I feel like I don’t have to worry about anything because this takes stress off of me.” Students meet on Saturday mornings on the LTC Shreveport campus with Allendale Community Coordinator Emmitt Welch, also an experienced welder. “Without this class, some of these students would be at home watching the wind blow through the trees. Their lives would be at a dead end,” he said. “This program gives them hope. They will become responsible, productive citizens because of this class.” Teacher Harris Williams, a welder for 40 years, said helping these students is one way of giving back to the community. “My hope is they complete their welding education and get their diploma. They can...
Meet Syborio Sabbath

Meet Syborio Sabbath

Afternoons at a Community Renewal Friendship House helped turn Syborio Sabbath from a bully into a better person, a young leader who now has plans, goals and a desire to help others rather than hurt them. “When I was younger I would mess with people and bully little kids. I just wasn’t thinking. I was immature and self-centered,” he said. “I like the Friendship House because when I come here I feel good. I love it here. They teach us how to do the right thing and not the wrong thing.” Syborio, 16, is finishing his freshman year this spring at Byrd High School, where he plays on the school basketball team and has aspirations for a basketball career. He lives with his family in Shreveport’s Highland neighborhood and started in the Kids Club at one Highland Friendship House and is now active in the Youth Club at the other Highland Friendship House. “They make me a better person at the Friendship House and then I can help the younger kids do the right thing. They really care about us here. We’re like one big family and that is so good,” she said. Caring relationships from the community coordinators who live in and run the programs at the Friendship Houses have made a tremendous difference in the lives of hundreds of teenagers, including Syborio. He has helped with service projects like neighborhood cleanups and food drives. And through all of these experiences, he is now growing into a responsible young man who is already thinking of ways he can give back to his community. “He is becoming a leader...
Sisters find joy at Friendship House

Sisters find joy at Friendship House

Makaila Reed and her sisters know how dangerous their streets once were and how tempting it has been for other young people to join gangs and get caught up in a life of violence and crime. That’s why the girls and their mother never take it for granted that today they can play without fear on those same streets. Gang fights and drug deals have been replaced by block parties and neighborhood service projects. The No. 1 reason, they say, is the impact of Community Renewal and the two Friendship Houses that are helping to transform the Allendale neighborhood. A Friendship House is a permanent part of the neighborhood, lived in by a CRI employee and their family and serving as a tangible symbol of hope and change in high-crime, low-income areas. “The Friendship House helps keep kids from going out and doing the wrong things and getting locked up. I feel safe with the Friendship House here,” said 12-year-old Makaila. “I like coming here because I have friends here and I am part of the group. I feel like it’s a family here. If the Friendship House was not here I would probably just go home and watch TV and waste my time.” Younger sister, Miracle, 10, feels the same way. “I enjoy the Friendship House because I like being with my friends and learning about God. We have birthday parties here and we help the community get better. I feel safe and happy here.” Felicia Sewell, the girls’ mother, said her children have become more caring and outgoing people because of CRI’s commitment to Allendale. “The Friendship...
20 Years of Caring

20 Years of Caring

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Finding Purpose And Passion In Renewal

Finding Purpose And Passion In Renewal

Finding Purpose And Passion In Renewal Successful businesswoman impacts her block – and the world. “Community Renewal has trained and nurtured me and I am jumping up and down inside because of what God has done for me in my life. I thank Community Renewal for their commitment to me and to you and to every person who lives in the Shreveport-Bossier area, and ultimately in cities and nations all around the world. “I’ve come to tell you that Community Renewal is the real thing. It is made up of a proven methodology that is adaptable to reach any person in any neighborhood and provide them with a way to cut to what is crucially important to people in all societies, and that is for neighbors to know and interact with one another. It is an innate need of ours to connect. “Five years ago I found myself searching for a charity organization I could support. I needed something more significant to work for each day than just accomplishments and money. Up to this point, I had lived my life focused on achievements and making a name for myself. I strived to be the best I could at any cost. Relationships mattered very little. “Community Renewal provided me the road to get out of my self-centered world that had led me to disappointment and even depression. They walked with me as I developed into a more compassionate person who now values people and relationships more than ever. “God commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. This past Tuesday night, my husband and I had 38 adults and 16...